One example of this is found in our text, Haggai 1:2-7. The common people of the nation had forgotten to put the Lord and His worship first in their lives and, in our text, we read of the devastating results to their individual families. They were facing times of famine, want and dissatisfaction. They no longer exercised wisdom in their money management and, therefore, were unable to meet their basic physical needs. All of this, because they no longer put the Lord first, but had lived selfish lives, desiring to accumulate wealth instead of using their possessions for God’s glory and honor.
Not only was this the condition of the households of Israel, but this was also the condition of the government of Israel as well. The nation had forgotten the Lord’s great blessings upon them when He delivered them from the Babylonian Captivity. They ignored the fact that God had graciously placed them under the rule of the Medo-Persian Empire, an empire sympathetic to their worship needs. The empire had allowed them to return back to Jerusalem and had issued an edict allowing their temple to be rebuilt. The Lord had placed them in the ideal situation to rebuild their house of worship, but they ignored this miraculous opportunity to please their Lord. Their leaders had forgotten God ignoring His commands to build the temple, while leading the people to fulfill their selfish desires of life first. This sin had its effects on Israel as a nation as well.
Not only individually, but as a nation, they faced famine, the nation had wasted their resources in pursuit of self-enrichment and therefore was unable to meet the needs of their citizens, when the time of famine had hit them. Israel, as a nation, was slowly dying.
The Lord, in an act of unparalleled grace, sent the prophet Haggai to warn the citizens of Israel, and the nation as a whole, of the need to repent, humbly return to their Lord, and begin to put Him first once again.
This is where we pick up in Haggai 1:2-7…
Hag 1:2-7 (KJV) Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built. Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, [Is it] time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house [lie] waste? Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages [to put it] into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
In our study I would like us to see the great effects that individuals, and especially nations will experience when they turn from placing the Lord first in their lives and go about seeking to selfishly accumulate power, wealth and recognition.
2)Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.
Haggai clearly proclaims the national sin of the people of Israel. They clearly, selfishly, resolved to go against the revealed will of their God. The Lord had clearly presented to them the opportunity to rebuild the temple for worship. (Ezra 4:7-22) They declared stubbornly that they would not. They had more important issues to attend to …. their own self-enrichment.
3)Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
The Lord now patiently, graciously raised up His servant to give warning to the nation and its citizens.
4) [Is it] time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house [lie] waste?
Now that they had been delivered from their captivity and they were given the allowance to rebuild their temple, was it time to enrich themselves and their households?
5)Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
What was their greatest need? Self examination. They needed to simply take an honest appraisal of their desires and the resultant condition they were in. What were the results of putting the Lord last in their lives?
6) Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages [to put it] into a bag with holes.
Loss of productivity, famine, dissatisfaction, want, the inability to manage their resources and the inability to prosper and be self-reliant among the Gentile nations. Does this list sound familiar in the day in which we live? Our government, as a whole, has left the spiritual principles upon which our nation was founded. The God of our nation’s forefathers, and submission to His will, has been left behind in our government’s law and decision-making processes. We have been asking for God’s judgment to fall upon our nation for quite sometime. I believe, this is beginning to take place.
Remember the results of such a selfish attitude? Let’s apply them to our nation today:
1. Loss of productivity – Economically, our nation is teetering on the edge of default. The rate of unemployment, increasing national debt and lack of fiscal leadership are all the result of our nation turning from its God and the moral, fiscal principles He desires for us to follow.
2. Famine – Shortages are beginning to rear their ugly head. Gasoline is the chief among them, this, along with the rising cost of food and health care are threatening to bankrupt our families and nation as a whole.
3. Dissatisfaction and want– Who within our nation is satisfied with the way things are progressing? It is as if we are watching the slow, yet steady decline of our nation without the ability to change it’s course. Our leaders appear to be totally blinded to the desires of the electorate.
4.The inability to manage our resources and the inability to prosper and be self-reliant among theother nations. We are constantly hearing how we are “living in a global economy”. We are also hearing that we can no longer economically prosper apart from world-wide trade.
Over the past five years our national debt has gone through the roof with no end in sight. Despite the fact our government received 2.1 trillion of dollars in tax revenue, we still are outspending this revenue by more than 1.7 trillion (3.8 trillon total expenditures).
To the best of my knowledge, it appears as if we are basically, beginning to enter the same condition as the Israel of old. Perhaps, our condition has not yet advanced to that of Israel, we are well on our way.
7) Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
What more can be said? We as Americans need to examine the priorities of our nation and our individual families, turn from our current path and seek the Lord’s face, once again putting Him first. Failure to do this, I believe, will result in the slow disintegration of our nation and families.
May we all be aware of our condition…
May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.
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